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Know Your Car’s AADHAR / VIN Number

A car’s AADHAR/Identification number, or VIN, is a 17-digit alphanumeric number. Since 1981, global automotive manufacturers have utilized a complex numbering system called a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) that uniquely describes a vehicle. This number provides a coded description of the vehicle including: Manufacturer, Year of Production, Place of Production and Vehicle Characteristics.

You may not feel the need of understanding and decoding VIN but if you are interested to know more about your vehicle then you must know what it means and how to decipher it.

Each VIN is unique to the vehicle and provides significant information about the vehicle. A VIN can also allow a service provider to accurately know the model/ type of car and its corresponding parts.

A VIN is also useful prior to buying a car as it can provide information about any damage or illegal modification or theft.

Where to find the VIN of your Car?

  • Dash of the car by the bottom of the windshield on the front passenger side.
  • Sticker on the B pillar on the driver’s side
  • On the engine block for some cars
  • On the underside of the hood on some newer vehicles
  • Registration and insurance certificates of the car

Decoding a VIN

Each VIN is broken into three sections mentioned below:- 

1) World Manufacturer Identifier or WMI.
2) Vehicle Descriptor Section or VDS.
3) Vehicle Identifier Section or VIS

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Some car manufacturer lets the consumer lookup VIN on their website. There are also many 3rd party websites that let you decipher the numbers and their meanings for absolutely no cost. Just go online and search for “online VIN decoder” and select any from the top results.

World Manufacturer Identifier or WMI

The first three digits are the WMI that gives the information about the country, manufacturer and The initial three digits of the WMI gives the information about the country, manufacturer and the type of vehicle.

The primary character in a VIN might be either a letter or number and gives you an idea about the geographic location of manufacturing. This is the place where the car was actually manufactured, and it might be not quite the same as where the manufacturer is located.

A – H Africa
J – R (except O and Q) Asia
S – Z Europe
1 – 5 North America
6 or 7 New Zealand or Australia
8 or 9 South America

The 2nd & 3rd digits of the VIN will tell you the manufacturer and manufacturing year of the car.

Some Examples include the following:- 

1
Chevrolet
H
Honda
B
BMW
P
Porsche
J
Jeep
T
Toyota

For Example, in VIN “1TNEK13ZX3R298984,” the “T” indicates a vehicle manufactured by Toyota.

Vehicle Descriptor Section or VDS

VDS is a five digit alphanumeric number used to determine a sort of vehicle and may include the details about the model, platform, engine and transmission.

Vehicle Identifier Section or VIS

VIS gives data about the manufacturing time and the assembling plant along with the sequential serial number of the vehicle.

The 10th number indicates the year the car was manufactured. It begins with A for 1980, the first year a standard 17-digit VIN was used. Subsequent years follow the alphabet of to “Y” in the year 2000.

In the Same VIN Example- 

“1TNEK13ZX3R298984,” the “3” indicates the vehicle was manufactured in 2003.

The 11th digit tells which plant actually assembled the car. This digit is specific to each manufacturer.

The 9th number is a check digit used to prove the VIN is not a fake.

In VIN “5XXGN4A70CG022862,” the check digit is “0”.

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To find out credibility of a VIN verify the check digit as it uses a complex calculation so it cannot be easily duplicated. You can find many free sources on the Internet that will allow you to verify the check digit.

Decoding the Remaining Numbers

The rest of the numbers gives you the information about the production or serial number of the car and is what that makes the VIN unique to a specific car. To find out this manufacturer-specific information, you can check their website for a decoding sheet.

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